Venture Philanthropy Partners: Investing in Social Change.


VPP Awarded $4 Million from the Social Innovation Fund to Create Collaboration for Low-Income Youth


(Washington, D.C., July 22, 2010…) Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) announced today the launch of “youthCONNECT,” a pioneering collaboration of government, private philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, and evaluators to dramatically improve opportunities for low-income youth, ages 14-24, in the National Capital Region.  

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, awarded VPP $4 million over two years for youthCONNECT. Venture Philanthropy Partners was one of eleven organizations nationally awarded SIF grants as part of its inaugural portfolio. The new initiative, established under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, is a new way of doing business for the federal government that better targets public-private resources toward solving social challenges. The SIF grants will expand the impact of high-performing organizations and innovative solutions to issues in three key areas: economic opportunity, youth development/school support; and healthy futures.

“Today in our Nation’s Capital, approximately 135,000 low-income youth are struggling to transition to a thriving adulthood. We are letting our most vulnerable youth slip through the cracks,” said Carol Thompson Cole, President and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners. “No single group can address this challenge alone. youthCONNECT provides the vehicle and catalyst for all sectors to come together in new ways to solve this problem and change lives, and our region, for the better.”

“This portfolio is a collection of extraordinary organizations with an unparalleled body of knowledge and expertise on growing what works,” said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation’s CEO. “They are all driven by the search for bold solutions and recognize that we must use evidence to target limited resources where they will have the greatest impact.” Click here to read the complete list of grantees and to learn more about the SIF.

To create youthCONNECT, VPP will match the SIF investment with $4 million, and the nonprofits in youthCONNECT will also provide matching funds for a total investment of roughly $13 million. At scale, youthCONNECT will serve the education and employment needs of an estimated 20,000 young people over the next five years, helping them successfully transition to productive, self-sufficient adulthood that includes completion of college, meaningful employment, civic participation, and productive, healthy and safe lives for themselves and their children.

youthCONNECT will support the collaboration of up to eight nonprofits in the National Capital Region providing education, social services, and job training to low-income youth. Four organizations have been selected for the network:  College Summit - National Capital Region; KIPP DC; the Latin American Youth Center, and Year Up - National Capital Region.  Up to four more organizations will be selected through a competitive process by early 2011.

By using evidence and evaluation in systematic ways, connecting approaches, creating efficiencies, minimizing duplication, and informing public discussion, the network has the potential to significantly amplify the individual efforts of each organization.

VPP strongly emphasizes evaluation and performance measurement of the youthCONNECT initiative and has partnered with Washington, DC-based Child Trends, the nation’s only nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy center that studies children at all stages of development, as the program’s evaluation advisor and consultant.

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VPP is a philanthropic investment organization that concentrates growth capital, strategic assistance, and leverage to improve the lives of children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region. Ten years ago, VPP pioneered high-engagement philanthropy. Its investment in its first portfolio increased service to more than 16,000 more children and youth. It has developed a proven investment approach, an engaged investor community, and deep knowledge of the formal and informal regional systems that nonprofits must navigate in order to expand. youthCONNECT is a natural evolution of VPP’s decade of innovation and dedication to the children and youth in the National Capital Region.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit